Welcome to day 4! I feel as though I need to tell you all that we are not superheroes or an earthly saint for being foster parents to troubled boys or for adopting these amazing children, instead we are a couple that has been blessed to have amazing mentors that walked with our family at crucial times in our walk pointing us to follow God’s leading.
We are no more than a husband and wife that have worked to support each other as we walk the path God has put before us! Don’t get me wrong we have periods when we struggle (thankfully it is usually just one of us while the other is closer to God). We definitely have times that we lust over having a “normal” family that cam enjoy vacations, live in a nice house with all the fun adult toys like boats, quads, etc., be able to have dinner parties with just adults, heck to even go to stores with breakable things!
Thankfully we have always had mentors that have pointed us back to God’s calling even when it means saying no!
Words cannot thank those men that came alongside my husband and not only taught him, but lead by example for him to be the head of our family and to lead us. I am also blessed to have such amazingly Godly women that have walked with me teaching me how to be a Godly wife that follows her husband’s leading. They have helped me to learn to follow when it was not my earthly desire, to nudge and even stand my ground when God has clearly spoken to us and Ray has struggled with his earthly desire, and to be faithful to God’s leading even when it means bringing in kids with severe mental health disorders!
Yes we have had more adventures in parenting than the average parents and no I never thought the phrase “well it’s your right to be angry, however it is not your right to lash out at him physically. Now you have a choice, you can take the negative consequence of wiping down the hall walls or you can continue to escalate and we can head to crisis for an intake” or “you have to the count of three to come back in the house before I call the police and report that you have run away” or those ones that while you don’t say it often it never leaves you like “Jon we can’t go to the park without shoes on and you are scaring the old ladies so let’s put our pants on too!”. Oh yes we have had a few kids that truly feel clothing is optional!
I know people often say that God will not give you more than you can handle, however I have learned over and over again that God will give me more than I can handle so that I will turn to him and lean on him as he teaches me how much he loves not only me, but these amazing children that he brings into our home. Yes we have success stories of children moving on to complete high school, be amazing first time parents, and to make a difference in those lives around them, however we have also had plenty placements that we disrupted (when a child is moved without reaching their goals) because we have tried our hardest to reach them, however it just was not working.
I have to admit these are hard to live through. Ray and I are not quitters that quickly give up on a child, however we have learned that often our house is a stepping stone in which we work to teach skills that the children will need for the future, but also we can be the stepping stone that tells the child’s family and team that this child truly isn’t able to be in a family setting. This is heartbreaking! Our goal is to help these children see how family is important and that family should support you. Our goal with their families is to teach them that this child isn’t wanting to destroy your family, however instead he needs more than the normal child to be able to be a part of the family which leads us to work through shared parenting to teach the families the skills we learned much earlier in our walk.
Today I am grateful to all of the mentors that have been a part of our family from the very beginning! I am grateful for each boy that has walked into our home for help (even the ones that I seriously thought would kill me in my sleep!) and their ability to learn and grow no matter how hard it was for them. I am beyond blessed to have an outstanding human being to make this journey alongside. Ray your heart for others especially these children that just need consistency and to know that someone cares, encourages and blesses me everyday! Most of all I am grateful for a God that although I often attempt to shut out because I just can’t do more, is always right there waiting to not only forgive me for acting like a toddler, but to also put me back on His path for our family!